Winter Closure

Parts of the Bridger-Teton National Forest shown on this map in purple are closed to people from Dec. 1 until May 1.

To help wildlife survive the toughest months of the year, managers close large swaths of federal land to public access each winter.

The most expansive of winter closures are on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, where restrictions are in place from Dec. 1 to April 30.

Closures next to town include the popular area from Josies Ridge on the north end to mountainsides above Game Creek on the south end. Included in the zone are trails in Adams, Leeks, Wilson and Horsethief canyons. Other Bridger-Teton closures cover Munger Mountain and the Horse and Camp Creek areas. Another closure runs from the north side of the Cache Creek drainage to Gros Ventre Road. That closure means Crystal Butte is off limits.

Throughout the five-month period other trails become leash zones for dogs. Those include the first sections of the Game Creek and Putt-Putt trails adjacent to the designated wildlife winter range and also the parking lots at Cache Creek, Nelson Drive and Teton Pass.

On the National Elk Refuge, Refuge Road closes past about the 3.5-mile mark, which is at the 90-degree turn at the Twin Creek subdivision. As a result the Curtis Canyon and Flat Creek roads are off limits.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department also closes its wildlife habitat management areas, including its property in South Park.

In Grand Teton National Park, an alpine closure intended to protect bighorn sheep makes the Mount Hunt, Prospectors Mountain and Static Peak areas off limits Dec. 1 through April 1. There are also area closures near the Snake, Gros Ventre and Buffalo Fork rivers that start Dec. 15, terminating April 1.

On the west slope of the Tetons, a strip of seasonally closed winter range runs along the lowest-elevation edge of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, nearest to the Teton Valley floor. That closure zone, which is in effect through April 15, includes federal land directly east of Victor and Driggs, Idaho. The Caribou-Targhee closure also reaches up into the mountains on the south-facing slopes above Darby Canyon.

The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance catalogs winter closure maps for different jurisdictions online. You can find them at JHAlliance.org/dont-poach-the-powder.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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